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Equal pay for women still not a reality

Women's organisations and unions in Switzerland demonstrated for higher pay for women on Tuesday, designated Equal Pay Day by a labour umbrella organisation.

They said March 10 was not a random date. Added to a full year's salary, it was how long a woman in Switzerland had to work into 2009 until she earned the same amount that her male colleague had by the end of 2008.

Men in Switzerland earn 19 per cent more than women.

The Unia trade union argues that equal pay strengthens women's purchasing power and that it would be an effective measure to boost the economy during a financial crisis.

The centre-left Green Party called for any rebuilding of the financial system to be a chance to raise the pay for women.

On March 2, a nationwide campaign was launched to promote equal pay and combat gender discrimination at the workplace. As part of the five-year project, the government, employers' organisations and trade unions urged companies to voluntarily review their salary systems.

A law granting men and women the right to equal pay for equal work came into force in 1996 but a survey found that the principle was not put into practice consistently.

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